Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that insulting Prophet Muhammad does not count as an expression of artistic freedom but is a "violation of religious freedom."
Putin made these remarks during his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday, adding that insults to Prophet Muhammad were a violation of "the sacred feelings of people who profess Islam".
According to the Tass news agency, Putin also criticized posting photos of Nazis on websites such as the one titled the Immortal Regiment and dedicated to Russians that died in World War Two.
Putin said these acts give rise to extremist reprisals, citing as an example the attack on the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo  magazine in Paris after its publication of cartoons of the prophet.
While praising artistic freedom in general, Putin said it has its limits and it shouldn't infringe on other freedoms.
Russia has evolved as a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state, so Russians, he said, are used to respecting each other's traditions. In some other countries, this respect comes in short supply, he said.
President Putin is said to be a follower of Orthodox Church. He wears a cross and met regularly with Patriarch Alexy II, who was the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. Father Tikhon Shevkunob, bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church and a well known conservative served as Putin's spiritual advisor. [Factsanddetails.com]
Orthodoxy is the third-largest branch of
Christianity, after Catholicism and Protestantism. Today, there are approximately 260 million Orthodox Christians in
the world, according to a new Pew Research Center report. Nov 8, 2017. Moscow is one
of the major centers of Orthodox Church.
Putin believes that morality cannot be separated from religious values. In an interview with The Time Magazine team in December 2007, Putin was asked: What role does faith play in your leadership? Putin responded: First and foremost, we should be governed by common sense. But common sense should be based on moral principles first. And it is not possible today to have morality separated from religious values.
Russia-Islamic World Meeting
It may be pointed out that a meeting of the Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group was held last month in Saudi Arabia's city of Jeddah, during which Russia and Islamic states vowed to strengthen cooperation in various fields.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in his speech said that Russia has deep-rooted relations with the Islamic world, as evidenced by its presence as an observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for more than 15 years, which has resulted in fruitful cooperation with the organization. He added that more than 20 million Muslims live in Russia in harmony with their communities, and enjoy the right to freely practice their religious rites." Governor of Mecca Prince Khalid Al Faisal had delivered the speech on King's behalf.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, highlighted the dedication of his country to developing friendly ties with Islamic states, according to a speech delivered on his behalf by Rustam Minnikhanov, president of Russia's Tatarstan Republic and head of the Group of Strategic Vision.
The Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group was created in 2006 after Russia joined the OIC as an observer. The Group has held meetings in Moscow, Kazan, Istanbul, Jeddah and Kuwait.
The Group consists of 33 famous statesmen and public figures from 27 Muslim states, including former prime ministers, foreign ministers, a number of the most prominent theologians of the Islamic East from Indonesia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, and many others.
The group is currently focused on developing measures to strengthen long-term cooperation between Russia and Islamic countries, coordinating joint measures to combat international terrorism, and the practical implementation of the strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Islamic world.
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